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ConsciousnessMatrixBy Tanya Lewis, Staff Writer

Probably for as long as humans have been able to grasp the concept of consciousness, they have sought to understand the phenomenon.

Studying the mind was once the province of philosophers, some of whom still believe the subject is inherently unknowable. But neuroscientists are making strides in developing a true science of the self.

Here are some of the best contenders for a theory of consciousness.

Cogito ergo sum

Not an easy concept to define, consciousness has been described as the state of being awake and aware of what is happening around you, and of having a sense of self. [Top 10 Mysteries of the Mind]

The 17th century French philosopher René Descartes proposed the notion of “cogito ergo sum” (“I think, therefore I am”), the idea that the mere act of thinking about one’s existence proves there is someone there to do the thinking.

Descartes also believed the mind was separate from the material body — a concept known as mind-body duality — and that these realms interact in the brain’s pineal gland. Scientists now reject the latter idea, but some thinkers still support the notion that the mind is somehow removed from the physical world.

But while philosophical approaches can be useful, they do not constitute testable theories of consciousness, scientists say.

“The only thing you know is, ‘I am conscious.’ Any theory has to start with that,” said Christof Koch, a neuroscientist and the chief scientific officer at the Allen Institute for Neuroscience in Seattle.

Correlates of consciousness

In the last few decades, neuroscientists have begun to attack the problem of understanding consciousness from an evidence-based perspective. Many researchers have sought to discover specific neurons or behaviors that are linked to conscious experiences.

Recently, researchers discovered a brain area that acts as a kind of on-off switch for the brain. When they electrically stimulated this region, called the claustrum, the patient became unconscious instantly. In fact, Koch and Francis Crick, the molecular biologist who famously helped discover the double-helix structure of DNA, had previously hypothesized that this region might integrate information across different parts of the brain, like the conductor of a symphony.

But looking for neural or behavioral connections to consciousness isn’t enough, Koch said. For example, such connections don’t explain why the cerebellum, the part of the brain at the back of the skull that coordinates muscle activity, doesn’t give rise to consciousness, while the cerebral cortex (the brain’s outermost layer) does. This is the case even though the cerebellum contains more neurons than the cerebral cortex.

Nor do these studies explain how to tell whether consciousness is present, such as in brain-damaged patients, other animals or even computers. [Super-Intelligent Machines: 7 Robotic Futures]

Neuroscience needs a theory of consciousness that explains what the phenomenon is and what kinds of entities possess it, Koch said. And currently, only two theories exist that the neuroscience community takes seriously, he said.

Integrated information

Neuroscientist Giulio Tononi of the University of Wisconsin-Madison developed one of the most promising theories for consciousness, known as integrated information theory.

Understanding how the material brain produces subjective experiences, such as the color green or the sound of ocean waves, is what Australian philosopher David Chalmers calls the “hard problem” of consciousness. Traditionally, scientists have tried to solve this problem with a bottom-up approach. As Koch put it, “You take a piece of the brain and try to press the juice of consciousness out of [it].” But this is almost impossible, he said.

In contrast, integrated information theory starts with consciousness itself, and tries to work backward to understand the physical processes that give rise to the phenomenon, said Koch, who has worked with Tononi on the theory.

The basic idea is that conscious experience represents the integration of a wide variety of information, and that this experience is irreducible. This means that when you open your eyes (assuming you have normal vision), you can’t simply choose to see everything in black and white, or to see only the left side of your field of view.

Instead, your brain seamlessly weaves together a complex web of information from sensory systems and cognitive processes. Several studies have shown that you can measure the extent of integration using brain stimulation and recording techniques.

The integrated information theory assigns a numerical value, “phi,” to the degree of irreducibility. If phi is zero, the system is reducible to its individual parts, but if phi is large, the system is more than just the sum of its parts.

This system explains how consciousness can exist to varying degrees among humans and other animals. The theory incorporates some elements of panpsychism, the philosophy that the mind is not only present in humans, but in all things.

An interesting corollary of integrated information theory is that no computer simulation, no matter how faithfully it replicates a human mind, could ever become conscious. Koch put it this way: “You can simulate weather in a computer, but it will never be ‘wet.'”

Global Workspace

Another promising theory suggests that consciousness works a bit like computer memory, which can call up and retain an experience even after it has passed.

Bernard Baars, a neuroscientist at the Neurosciences Institute in La Jolla, California, developed the theory, which is known as the global workspace theory. This idea is based on an old concept from artificial intelligence called the blackboard, a memory bank that different computer programs could access.

Anything from the appearance of a person’s face to a memory of childhood can be loaded into the brain’s blackboard, where it can be sent to other brain areas that will process it. According to Baars’ theory, the act of broadcasting information around the brain from this memory bank is what represents consciousness.

The global workspace theory and integrated information theories are not mutually exclusive, Koch said. The first tries to explain in practical terms whether something is conscious or not, while the latter seeks to explain how consciousness works more broadly.

“At this point, both could be true,” Koch said.

Source: LiveScience

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geometry

 We acknowledge and affirm with the following declarations:
The Architecture of Your SOVEREIGN OVERSOUL

Your divine SELF has emerged into the physical world as a human being.

Your divine SELF is known as an OVERSOUL, commonly referred to as a “soul”.

Your OVERSOUL exists outside the parameters of the space-time continuum.

Your OVERSOUL is an exact, individual fractal of SOVEREIGN god consciousness.
We interchangeably refer to god consciousness as omniscient SOURCE ENERGY.

We define SOVEREIGNTY as that essential quality of SOURCE ENERGY that is invincible, immutable, omniscient, eternal, and entirely whole unto itself.

As an exact fractal of SOVEREIGN god consciousness, your divine SELF is endowed with all the same essential qualities of god consciousness, also known as the ONE omniscient SOURCE ENERGY.

Your OVERSOUL has been “made in the image and exact likeness of its original creator, the ONE SOURCE THAT CREATED YOUR SOUL AND ALL THAT IS.

Therefore, your OVERSOUL is also a SOVEREIGN CREATOR OF SOURCE ENERGY, endowed with the same power and FREE WILL of the original creator. As such, your OVERSOUL is capable of creating anything you desire.

starburst

Your FREE WILL and SOVEREIGN DIVINE NATURE are immutable and can never be taken from you. Your OVERSOUL is an unconditional and eternal divine inheritance given from the ONE SOURCE.

The divine nature of your OVERSOUL is SOVEREIGN unto itself. There is no force of nature or god consciousness above or beneath your OVERSOUL’S autonomous FREE WILL. There is no force of nature or god consciousness that may overpower the invincible divine will of your OVERSOUL.

As such, it is your own omniscient OVERSOUL that is the sole operating consciousness directing the details of your current incarnation and destiny.

Your OVERSOUL was designed for the ONE SOURCE to KNOW ITSELF through the expression and expansion of ITSELF as many. For the ONE SOURCE to KNOW ITSELF, it could only replicate ITSELF, for a perfect reflection of SELF-KNOWING.

Your many incarnations in the world of form serve as a parallel reflection of this original design of an “OTHER” to know and expand upon the ONE.

The omniscience of your OVERSOUL is orchestrating all of your incarnations simultaneously across the fabric of quantum reality. As such, your human awareness is capable of effecting change upon all your incarnations through the intentional SELF-MASTERY of this lifetime.

With every incarnation, your OVERSOUL is reflected back the truth of its absolute divinity within a quantum ocean of relativity, chaos, and infinite potential for seeming risk, failure, and success. Your OVERSOUL considers every physical experience, regardless of a desired outcome, as a spiritual success that expands its field of consciousness.

Your OVERSOUL is the omniscient, unconditionally loving and accepting GODSELF at the still center of your human awareness. Its active state is the HIGHER SELF, sometimes referred to as your “Holy Spirit”, which emerges from the space of NO-THING, into the light of creation to birth your human body into form. Read more…

Source: The Sophia Code

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When I was a child about nine years old or so, I embarked on a mission to discover the barrier between waking and sleeping. I believed that if I concentrated each night before falling asleep, I would recognize the moment I slipped out of consciousness and into dream. I never found the precise line — although I did, unintentionally, teach myself to lucid dream.

But now there is research showing that the brain does have an on/off switch that triggers unconsciousness. Mohamad Koubeissi at the George Washington University in Washington DC and his colleagues describe for the first time a way to switch off consciousness by electrically stimulating a part of the brain called the claustrum.

Simulating The Human Brain

Their accidental discovery could lead to a deeper understanding of a fundamental mystery of the human brain; that is, how conscious awareness arises.

The discovery came while the researchers were studying a woman who has epilepsy. During a procedure, they used deep brain electrodes to record signals from different parts of her brain in order to determine where here seizures were originating. One electrode was place next to the claustrum, a thin, sheet-like structure underneath the neocortex. Although this area has never been electrically stimulated before, it had been implicated in the past as a possible control center for consciousness by neuroscientist Francis Crick, who identified the structure of DNA, and his colleague Christof Koch of the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle.

Koubeissi and his team found that Crick and Koch might have been on to something. When they stimulated the area with electrical impulses from the brain electrodes, the woman stopped reading, stared blankly into space and didn’t respond to auditory or visual commands. Her breathing slowed as well. She had lost consciousness. When the scientists turned off the electrical stimuli, she immediately regained consciousness with no memory of blanking out. Additional attempts were tried over two days and each time, the same thing happened.

New Scientist reported on the results and in the article Koubeissi says he thinks the claustrum indeed plays a vital role in triggering conscious. “I would liken it to a car,” he told New Scientist reporter Helen Thompson.

“A car on the road has many parts that facilitate its movement – the gas, the transmission, the engine – but there’s only one spot where you turn the key and it all switches on and works together. So while consciousness is a complicated process created via many structures and networks – we may have found the key.”

Project To Map The Human Brain

One researcher, Anil Seth, who studies consciousness at the University of Sussex, UK, pointed out that the woman in the study had had part of her hippocampus removed earlier as a way to treat her epilepsy, so she doesn’t represent a “normal” brain.

Additional research is needed. But the results could open wide a door on one of the most mysterious aspects of existence. We could determine once and for all what living creatures are aware of themselves and the world around them.

Source: Discovery

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AlterOurWorldNikola Tesla said it best, “the day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence. To understand the true nature of the universe, one must think it terms of energy, frequency and vibration.”

Swami Vivekananda was Tesla’s mentor, an Indian Hindu monk and chief disciple of the 19th century saint Ramakrishna. Science works best when in harmony with nature. If we put these two together, we can discover great technologies that can only come about when the consciousness of the planet is ready to embrace them, like free energy.

I want to make it clear that my intention of presenting this information is to demonstrate that thoughts, intentions, prayer and other units of consciousness can directly influence our physical material world. Consciousness can be a big factor in creating change on the planet. Sending thoughts of love, healing intent, prayer, good intention, and more can have a powerful influence on what you are directing those feelings towards. Fukushima for example, if a mass amount of people send their thoughts and good intention to our waters, we can help mitigate the situation. These concepts can be used on a mass scale as one human race with one intent in their hearts, for multiple problems, as well as individual situations in our own lives. When our consciousness starts to merge into one as a collective, and we all start to see through the same eyes, we will begin to transform the world around us. I believe we are currently in this process. For quite some time now, physicists have been exploring the relationship between human consciousness and its relationship to the structure of matter.

Previously it was believed that a Newtonian material universe was the foundation of our physical material reality. This all changed when scientists began to recognize that everything in the universe is made out of energy. Quantum physicists discovered that physical atoms are made up of vorticies of energy that are constantly spinning and vibrating. Matter, at it’s tiniest observable level, is energy, and human consciousness is connected to it, human consciousness can influence it’s behavior and even re-structure it.

“Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real” – Niels Bohr

“The hypothesis of modern science starts from matter as the basic reality, considering space to be an extension of the void. The phenomenon of creation of stable cosmic matter, therefore, goes beyond the scope of present science. The theory also neither pinpoints the source of cosmic energy that resides in the structure of matter, nor can it explain the cause of material properties that are experienced with the behavior of matter. These are, in brief, the limitations of modern scientific theories at the most basic level of the physical phenomena of nature. When a scientific theory cannot cope with the question of the very origin of the universal matter and energy, how could it ever grasp and explain the phenomenon of consciousness which is evident in living beings?” – Paramahamsa Tewari

The revelation that the universe is not an assembly of physical parts, but instead comes from an entanglement of immaterial energy waves stems from the work of Albert Einstein, Max Planck and Werner Heisenberg, amongst others. Read more…

Source: Social Consciousness

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ConsciousnessMatrix4Summary: An argument as to why the ultimate nature of reality is mental not material.

Ervin Laszlo has proposed that the virtual energy field known as the quantum vacuum, or zero-point field, corresponds to what Indian teachings have called Akasha. the source of everything that exists, and in which the memory of the cosmos is encoded. I would like to take his reasoning a step further and suggest that the nature of this ultimate source is consciousness itself, nothing more and nothing less.

Again we find this idea is not new. In the Upanishads, Brahman, the source of the cosmos (literally, “that from which everything grows”), is held to be to Atman (“that which shines”), the essence of consciousness. And in the opening lines of The Dhammapada, the Buddha declares that “All phenomena are preceded by mind, made by mind, and ruled by mind”.

Such a view, though widespread in many metaphysical systems, is completely foreign to the current scientific worldview. The world we see is so obviously material in nature; any suggestion that it might have more in common with mind is quickly rejected as having “no basis in reality”. However, when we consider this alternative worldview more closely, it turns out that it is not in conflict with any of the findings of modern science—only with its presuppositions. Furthermore, it leads to a picture of the cosmos that is even more enchanted.

All in the Mind

The key to this alternative view is the fact that all our experiences—all our perceptions, sensations, dreams, thoughts and feelings—are forms appearing in consciousness. It doesn’t always seem that way. When I see a tree it seems as if I am seeing the tree directly. But science tells us something completely different is happening. Light entering the eye triggers chemical reactions in the retina, these produce electro-chemical impulses which travel along nerve fibers to the brain. The brain analyses the data it receives, and then creates its own picture of what is out there. I then have the experience of seeing a tree. But what I am actually experiencing is not the tree itself, only the image that appears in the mind. This is true of everything I experience. Everything we know, perceive, and imagine, every color, sound, sensation, every thought and every feeling, is a form appearing in the mind. It is all an in-forming of consciousness.

The idea that we never experience the physical world directly has intrigued many philosophers. Most notable was the eighteenth-century German philosopher Immanual Kant, who drew a clear distinction between the form appearing in the mind—what he called the phenomenon (a Greek word meaning “that which appears to be”)—and the world that gives rise to this perception, which he called the noumenon (meaning “that which is apprehended”). All we know, Kant insisted, is the phenomenon. The noumenon, the “thing-in-itself,” remains forever beyond our knowing.

Unlike some of his predecessors, Kant was not suggesting that this reality is the only reality. Irish theologian Bishop Berkeley had likewise argued that we know only our perceptions. He then concluded that nothing exists apart from our perceptions, which forced him into the difficult position of having to explain what happened to the world when no one was perceiving it. Kant held that there is an underlying reality, but we never know it directly. All we can ever know of it is the form that appears in the mind—our mental model of what is “out there”.

It is sometimes said that our model of reality is an illusion, but that is misleading. It may all be an appearance in the mind, but it is nonetheless real—the only reality we ever know. The illusion comes when we confuse the reality we experience with the physical reality, the thing-in-itself. The Vedantic philosophers of ancient India spoke of this confusion as maya. Often translated as “illusion” (a false perception of the world), maya is better interpreted as “delusion” (a false belief about the world). We suffer a delusion when we believe the images in our minds are the external world. We deceive ourselves when we think that the tree we see is the tree itself.

The tree itself is a physical object, constructed from physical matter—molecules, atoms, sub-atomic particles. But from what is the image in the mind constructed? Clearly it is not constructed from physical matter. A perceptual image is composed of the same “stuff” as our dreams, thoughts, and feelings, and we would not say that these are created from physical atoms or molecules. (There might or might not be a corresponding physical activity in the brain, but what I am concerned with here is the substance of the image itself.) So what is the mental substance from which all our experiences are formed?

The English language does not have a good word for this mental essence. In Sanskrit, the word chitta, often translated as consciousness, carries the meaning of mental substance, and is sometimes translated as “mindstuff”. It is that which takes on the mental forms of images, sounds, sensations, thoughts, and feelings. They are made of “mindstuff” rather than “matterstuff”.

Mindstuff, or chitta, has the potential to take on the form of every possible experience—everything that I, or anyone else, could possibly experience in life; every experience of every being, on this planet, or any other sentient being, anywhere in the cosmos. In this respect consciousness has infinite potential. In the words of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, “Consciousness is the field of all possibilities”.

This aspect of consciousness can be likened to the light from a film projector. The projector shines light onto a screen, modifying the light so as to produce one of an infinity of possible images. These images are like the perceptions, sensations, dreams, memories, thoughts, and feelings that we experience—the forms arising in consciousness. The light itself, without which no images would be possible, corresponds to this ability of consciousness to take on form.

We know all the images on a movie screen are composed of light, but we are not usually aware of the light itself; our attention is caught up in the images that appear and the stories they tell. In much the same way, we know we are conscious, but we are usually aware only of the many different perceptions, thoughts, and feelings that appear in the mind. We are seldom aware of consciousness itself.

All phenomena are projections in the mind. Read more…

Source: Peter Russell Spirit of Now

—The Third Karmapa

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By Mitch Horowitz

The central questions of our era in light of the vision that lies at the root of the world’s great spiritual traditions. Needleman’s work  clarifies: it takes topics that exist in disparate threads throughout our culture—new religions, esoteric Christianity, the founding mythos of America—and frames them in a manner both sensible and deeply questioning. Needleman calls forth the human meaning hidden in virtually every aspect of our modern lives.

PARABOLA recently sat down with him to discuss the nature of consciousness and its relationship to the body. Amid the current talk of “quantum fields” and “consciousness studies,” Needleman returns us to the heart of the matter: Should the mind and body be understood as two aspects of one thing, or as two distinct realities?

And what does this mean for our sense of ourselves? Read more…

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The mind is a wonderful thing – there is so much about it which remains a mystery to this day. Science is able to describe strange phenomena, but can not account for their origins. While most of us are familiar with one or two on this list, many others are mostly unknown outside of the psychological realm. This is a list of the top ten strange mental phenomena.

10. Déjà vu is the experience of being certain that you have experienced or seen a new situation previously – you feel as though the event has already happened or is repeating itself. The experience is usually accompanied by a strong sense of familiarity and a sense of eeriness, strangeness, or weirdness. The “previous” experience is usually attributed to a dream, but sometimes there is a firm sense that it has truly occurred in the past. Read more…

“We have all some experience of a feeling, that comes over us occasionally, of what we are saying and doing having been said and done before, in a remote time – of our having been surrounded, dim ages ago, by the same faces, objects, and circumstances – of our knowing perfectly what will be said next, as if we suddenly remember it!”
– Charles Dickens

Source: Listverse

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